Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Remembrance of Days Past

You know that I love to collect old pictures, and recently featured pictures I bought at auction and had developed from the old negatives.  Those pictures were from occupied Japan, circa 1945-6. 

With the same group of pictures, I got small photos removed from an album, which will be featured soon.  I also bought about 25 of the best tintypes I had ever seen, with most of the pictures still very clear and legible.  Tonight's story will feature some of them. 

Before I start, I will say that it was very, very hot here... heat index well in the triple digits, and high humidity.  Hard on animals and man. 

I took a half day vacation to come home and make sure all the animals were safe... found Inca in the swimming pool... and the birds suffering in the heat.  All the dogs were safely in the house.
Thank heavens for air conditioning!

So here are some of the wonderful old tintypes I got.
I know this is crooked, but so is the tintype.  I like to think that these are four sisters... Like the "Little Women", Jo, Amy, Meg and Beth. 

Why do I suspect these are two brothers and their wives?  I love the boater hats... do you suppose they were about to go on an excursion?  1890s, my guess.
I love this one because of the sweet children.  Do you suppose those are little purses, or Easter baskets?
My guess is the little tyke in the middle with the bonnet is a boy!
Another dapper group, out for a day's trip for a picnic.  Three couples, friends all, I suspect.

Today, when I got home, I found one of my favorite birds dead in the doghouse in the dogpen out in the pasture, not killed by a predator, dead, we think, from the heat. 
RIP Angel, most beautiful of hens

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One Last Chicken and Garden Post

I PROMISE I am going to find something else to write about than chickens and gardens every night! 

But.... here we go again for tonight...

This little guy, my favorite red cockerel.... is not feeling good.  I am afraid he is showing signs of the upper respiratory that was going around a month ago... so I isolated him in the nursing cage.  He is not having the severe breathing difficulties with the rawls in his chest like the brassy back did, so I have some hope for him.  When I put him in the cage fifteen minutes or so ago.... he drank the cool water from the waterer as fast as he could  I am wondering if he spent the afternoon on the roost in the juvenile pen, and if so, it was an indication.  I left some food in there with him, and left him quietly, since I think darkness and quiet do as much to heal as anything.

The cochin and welsummer cockerels in the little henhouse are doing fine today, and I was glad to see that.  Handsome, the cochin, was outside running around with the other birds as if he had been there all along.  The porcelains still stay to themselves, though, away from the other birds.  They are the smallest, and I am still keeping them in the rabbit hutch at night.  
Here are two of the Ameracauna chicks on the left... they and the porcelains were the youngest chicks we have right now.  These are big girls, though, and are going to be big hens.  There is a third that was on the ground.  Next to them is the red cockerel I pulled, then a buff cochin pullet, and two mille fleur cockerels.  I'm keeping both milles.  I am probably going to pull the Ameracaunas tonight or tomorrow night and put them in the little henhouse, to lessen the crowd in this 4 x 4 pen. 

This is bee balm in the garden, and I only wish I could have gotten a picture of the sun on it... it was full of bumble bees and absolutely gorgeous.
I stepped back so you could see how tall it is... it HAS to be moved this fall. 
And here is yet another daylily beginning to bloom... a double yellow.
And last.... I thought you might all get a laugh when you see how I get the eggs from the little henhouse, which was made too wide to reach the corners (we learn from our mistakes here).

Yes, it's a kitchen mop.  I'd be lost without it.  I "mop" the eggs to me daily.  I actually gently pull hens in the corners off their eggs so I can get the eggs.  The girls don't like to see it coming! The alternative is to crawl in and get them.

If any of you have ever looked at Boonedocks Wilcox , one of the blogs I feature on my page... you would know that Joanna has lots of nice little Nigerian goats.  Recently, she has had quadruplets born, and if you ever want to see something so cute it is almost sickening, go look at the videos she has been posting in the last week about the babies... yes... it's as cute as cute can be! I highly recommend viewing these videos as an antidote to the daily slog!
We are expecting terrible heat here on Thursday.  I had already requested Friday as a vacation day, and may take half of Thursday to come home and check on the birds.  We keep the dogs in when it is so hot, and the llamas have been sheared and have water in their swimming pool to lay in.  I still like to check on things, as Keith usually does this during the day in a swing-by for lunch, but with the flooding going on here these next few days, he will be helping the cities being affected, and won't have time.  Please pray with us for all those affected by this flooding... some have already been away from their homes for several weeks, and some will not have a home to move back to.  It's very sad. 

I PROMISE to write about something else entirely tomorrow!

Monday, June 27, 2011

More Chicken Stories

Last night, I put two cockerels from the juvenile pen in the little henhouse at dark.  Confused, they froze just inside the door, but Muffy and Bitty, my two little pets, were still up, and I saw them approach the two boys.  I shut the door on them, I knew they would be okay. 

Sure enough, when I opened the pophole this morning, out rushed the Welsummer cockerel.  He took on the three roosters, and I was satisfied before I left for work that he would be able to protect himself.  I figured the partridge cochin would stay in the henhouse with the three hens who are setting, and the little black cochin who rarely comes out.  When I got home, he was still inside.

While I was doing chores, someone snuck in the door behind me:

Uh Huh.
I sat and watched him for a while, and he was not fighting or hurting anyone, so I left him for the time being.
Here are my two little pets with Handsome, the cochin, who finally came outside.  He's still very immature, and doesn't bother anyone.  You notice Bully is leaving them alone, he just checked them out.

This is Rocky, the partridge-colored Plymouth Rock cockerel.  He has not started crowing yet.  He is easily going to be the biggest of all the juveniles, but has been in the little henhouse for several months already.  He is going to be as big as Rambo, but is a gentle giant.  I ran out of space on my card in the camera, or would have gotten a picture of the Welsummer cockerel, who has this one cowed already.
Over the weekend, as we did an errand together, we saw a chicken tractor in a yard in Tonganoxie, full of what looked like bantam Buff Orpingtons.  They were merrily eating away in someone's front yard.  Keith commented tonight that he is going to build a couple of chicken tractors for us.  Butch and his girls have been in their pen for six weeks now, and it is nasty and the dirt is churned up and gets full of flies during the day.  I leave them in while I let Rambo and the others out during the day, and when I get home, I lock up the "big flock" (big and little birds) and then let Butch, Angel, Reddy and Eagle out for a couple of hours.  They go back to their doghouse when it starts to get dark.  Keith noticed how nasty their place is, though, and is going to make some tractors (probably two) so we can breed like to like if we want.  (welsummers, or rocks, etc. etc. ).  We can move the tractors so the ground beneath them doesn't get nasty from a static pen.  I think it's a super idea!
The porcelains had their gate down all day, but stayed in their pen til I got home, when they jumped down.  The rabbit hutch has about had it, so I am going to have to get them used to the little henhouse, and how to go up and down the ramp.
Here they are playing in the wet dirt of the little henyard.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Hot Sunday

Whew!  Hot today.  I was not well during the night, so slept in a little this morning.  Finally, at noon, I made myself go out and get the garden bed ready for the new plants I bought over the last two weeks.
Here is the start of the new 50 foot bed; it will take a while for it to be finished. 

There is a white lilac bush planted in the background, you can barely see it.
Those are some more kniphofia in front of it to the right (red hot pokers) , some lamium in the front, and a mountain bluet to their left.  I have one in the other bed, and love it.

You can't tell, because they are so thin, but there are two yarrow plants there, and a glorious orange daylilly that is huge, but I would have to run out and look at the tag for it's name.
In front of it are two new pyrethrums (you can't see one) that are orange, they are called "Fire... somthing"... yep, forgot the name, but kept the tags.  I realized after I planted that I had gone with reds, yellows and oranges in this bed except for the bluet and the little flowers on the lamium.  I think it's "Firethorn" but I'll have to look (sigh). Bed number one looked like this last year, and like this, now:
Keith was at the Royals game, and I was tidying up this bed, admiring the bees working on the flowers, when something whizzed past my ear.  I looked up to see it alight in the maple tree.. it was a hummingbird!  We had them galore when we first moved here, but we think the swallows ran them out.  I was so glad to see it approaching the flowers and the feeder I keep hanging in the bed.  I just put new syrup in it Friday night, and I'll bring it in again tonight and clean it, putting more new in. 
I found these in the big henyard.  Hardly anyone lay today, it was so hot.  I let Butch and his girls out early this morning, and let them run in the pasture for the day.  I confined Rambo and what is left of his flock in the big henyard for the day.  There is shade in there, but it was still so hot that I did water at 1, and again at 6.  These eggs are from one of the little white hens, who are the remnants of my original Japanese bantams.  I have three tiny little girls; one is an Old English gamebird, though. 
Butch's girls laid in the pasture somewhere, and I never did find their eggs.  Once everyone moves to the new henhouse (layers anyway) I'll be getting nice eggs daily. 
Keith got home in late afternoon and carried feed sacks for me (bless him!) and now is out in the garden, after a light salad for dinner.  He had a good time and the Royals won, so that was a good end to the weekend!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Late Post

I tried to post last night, but Blogger was so slow, the blog never came up.  Of course, it might have been Hughesnet dragging it's feet, because I could not get to run any faster, finally gave up, and went to bed to read for a while.

It has stormed here today, and we are expecting round two any time.  We have a ballgame tonight, but I am not sure they will be able to take the field.  Our team has changed independent leagues, and has been losing pretty steadily this year, but we still like to go and watch.  After a cool morning, it has gotten muggy outside.  I did chores when we got home from Saturday errands, thinking to get them done before the rains came again.  My plan was to put the Welsummer cockerel with the group in the little henyard now, but I can't catch him, and I got so hot trying, I stopped.  I've got 30 plants to get put into the new bed, but have come in to sit and rest a while before starting.  I have a suspicion it is going to rain on my parade.

Last weekend, with the grands coming, I did not get on the mower.  I paid for it this week... here is what I did on Thursday and Friday evenings:

It was like mowing the pasture, which I'll do tomorrow if it is not too wet.
Down in the northeast corner, just ahead of the tractor in the picture above, I found these:

I can't believe Lilly Ann is slipping up on Mole Patrol.  There were at least 15 big mounds that I drove over.  When we first moved here, I remember mowing over some mole holes and looking down and seeing little faces watching me!

Ditch lilies just outside our front gate.
And you can just see them going down the road, in large groups.
We intended to get a lot done on the new henhouse today, but the storm is precluding that.  It may be God's way of saying "Slow down for one weekend!".   Keith cleaned up the garden area this week, and it is looking mighty good.  I have about 25 plants to put in the new planting bed, but will wait until after church tomorrow to see how the weather is doing. 
Here is a cute picture to leave you with of one of my little pets:

Muffy the Mille.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Full Day for the Porcelains

Yesterday or the day before, a porcelain pullet flew down as I was getting their water for them, and was pounced on and scared half to death by the only Bantam Brahma we have left.  I rescued her, and put her back in the rabbit hutch, but it was very clear that the three porcelains wanted to be out and about.

So today, I caught Mr. Brahma as he barreled out the little henhouse pophole, and carried him, protesting, to the big henyard.  Then I opened the door of the rabbit hutch, and did other things until I saw that the porcelains were not going to be molested.  I did wonder and worry all day at work, but came home tonight to find them intact.

They had never been on the ground before today, and it was comical to see them walk across the grass (that needs to be cut!)
They stuck together in a little bunch all day, I think, and when I sat down in the chair in the henyard to watch, they clustered at my feet.
These two also greet me and chatter to me daily:

They are Mille Fleur, but their coats are not great.  I like them anyway, they are wonderful little birds, and are called Muffy and Bitty.  We are going to cut their flight feathers this weekend as they almost fly like wild birds, and like to be up high.  We are afraid a hawk will get them while they walk along the 8 foot high fence tops. Keith is amazed at how tame and friendly they are.  My friends Nancy and Paul had a very tame Milly named Tilly, who rode around on Paul's shoulder and lived in a cage in their house.

Here is a bad picture of my favorite of the three cochin cockerels.  I like this red one... but I also like the partridge-colored ones... and they are actually better-looking birds to my mind, but this little red guy is nice.

Here is one of the two partridge colored cochin cockerels.  You see he is a much better bird... and probably the keeper.
That's the surviving OEG in the back ground, and I still have the little brassy back girl, too. The Welsummer cockerel is in with this bunch, still, as are the three young Ameracaunas.  They are all about ready to go in with the little birds in the little henhouse.
All the females are moving over to the new henhouse at the end of summer, anyway, and then the little henhouse hopefully will be used for breeding.
This little pen will be cleaned out and used for a breeding trio of bantams.
I end with a picture of one of the Welsummer pullets... they and the Rocks are turning into beautiful young birds, I am so happy with them!

Okay, now I'm laughing, because I'm pretty happy with all the birds.  After a long day at work, I'm happy to come home and watch "chick tv" from my old plastic chair in the henyard. 
I even feel sorry for Mr. Bully Brahma, who was caught with the net tonight, and plopped down in the big henhouse.  I stepped in to check on him, and he was standing there totally bewildered, didn't know where to turn or which way to go.  As there is PLENTY of room in there now, he will just have to make his way.  I'm sure he'll be greeted by Rambo before I can get out there in the morning, so I'll try to rise early and get out there before he gets drubbed.  He spent the day running up and down the fence looking at his buddies in the little henyard, but I'm afraid if I let him back in, he'll beat up on the porcelains, and this weekend, on the Welsummer cockerel, who is about to be moved there. 
I'll be watching to see that he is not beat up upon too badly over the next few days, until he adjusts.  I did see him eat and drink as I was doing the llama water tonight.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Llama Lovers Please Note

Here is Inca, tonight.  I think I wrote that we found odd skin problems under her "arms" when we sheared... I did not realize until last night that the skin problems also are on her legs, and now, I believe, on her muzzle as well.

You can just see the two large patches on the inside of either leg.  I am thinking now that it is some kind of mange, unfortunately.  I did a little reading up today and both common manges are treatable, but there are also two other kinds of mange.  I noticed when we sheared on Sunday that her wool had lots of little flecks of "dandruff" in it... but I don't think they were mites (which this could also be). 
If there are any long time llama owners reading this, I wish you would either message me at the blog, or at
Here is her back:

Yes, they got her pretty closely with the shears.  I am worried that the patch near her tail is the mange, though (or whatever it is).  I am going to try to get a scrape of it sometime this week, and have the parasitologist at work look at it (or the vet).  Joani bought a llama at the sale one time that turned out to have it, and she treated the llama orally with ivermectin and the infection went away, so maybe we will try that.  I would like to identify it first, though. 
Inca likes to eat laying down!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Quick Post

Quick tonight.  I have not talked about it, but three weeks ago I tried to wear heels for the first time in over a year, and fell out of them gracefully (NOT!) at work.  Thank heavens I landed on carpet, because falling is one of my biggest fears.  I knew as soon as I came to rest that I had done something to the back that was just feeling better after several epidural injections. 

I found out today from the doctor that I had caused soft tissue damage, and it was causing muscle spasms.  No wonder it has hurt to walk or even to sleep in the last 3 weeks!  I will be having another epidural soon, and I have muscle relaxers to take at night if I am in a lot of pain. 
I am afraid of falling on the farm, and afraid of laying there with no one finding me for hours, so I try to be careful as I do chores.  I once had a neighbor at the old Calamity Acres who fell down her basement stairs one morning... by a miracle of God, her son stopped at home on his lunch hour, and found her hurt at the bottom of the stairs, calling 911.  I've tried always to be careful since that time.   I think this is a concern for any farmer, hobby or "real". 

Here are some things I saw tonight:
Inca and Aztec, laying just inside the pasture gate.

Welsummer cockerel, tried to mount one of the pullets tonight... time for him to leave the juvenile pen.

The larger of the two Mille Fleur cockerels... he has muffs, which you can't see from this angle.
Clouds in the sky over the pasture this evening.  Fortunately, they were breaking up.  Folks upriver, however, have much to worry about in the next few days.  Keith believes (and he works in emergency management) that there will be literally a tsunami coming down the Missouri River if they keep releasing as much water from the dams upstream as they are.  He is worried that not just a few, but many towns will suffer as a result.  Please say a prayer for all the folks about to be hit in the next few days.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Quieter Monday

Boy, and I mean quiet.  There are actually SEVEN roosters gone now... the tiny white Little Boy is gone, too, the kids must have gone back in and gotten him.  There are only three roosters left in the little henyard, and one cockerel... the Partridge Rock (who will be bigger than all of them!) .  Ratchett is still there with his Elvis forelock... and Bluey, the blue silky... and the smallest of the Brahma Bullies, who is bereft without his two pals.  I am considering putting Butch and his three girls in this yard.  Their pen gets dirty quickly, and they do not get to get out until I get home from work in the evening and lock Rambo up.  I won't do it until Friday night, when I can watch how things go on Saturday morning.  Butch has only one eye... I am not worried about the silky or the cockerel, but I am worried about the pugnacious Brahma and Ratchett.  Butch is equal to Ratchett in size, and bigger than the other two. 

Of course, I have an ulterior motive, besides the happiness of my three girls and Butch.  When grandson Chris comes up again in two weeks, I'll ask him to help me fold this pen up, and we'll move it into the little henyard.  Then we'll move a doghouse into it, and separate the juveniles from their four by four pen, where they are getting too crowded.  I tried to convince the little boys last night to take one of the two heavily booted partridge cochin cockerels, but they did not like feathered feet.  It was their dad who wanted the Brahma that they took.  All the others were clean-legged. 

Here is our little GIRL Aztec having some chow tonight. You can see how gray her undercoat is. She has a barrel cut only, and her wool was so very thin and fine.

Rooster Two.  I would have hated to lose him, and for some reason, the little boys LOVED him.  He's old, he's five this summer, one of the last own sons of Fred, our Japanese bantam (Two is a cross). One, Two, Three and Four are the last direct sons.  Four died in the harsh winter, and Two managed to get away from the little boys.  I'm glad.  I won't have these three old boys much longer, I'm sure.

And lastly, the three little girls, waiting for Mommy to come in and sit down and watch tv with them.  I still haven't... Keith has played in a golf tournament today far away in Manhattan, and even now is on his way home.  He had a great round, (he called to tell me) so I am going to fix him a good salad so he can sit down and rest when he gets here. 
That's THEIR couch, by the way! They just let us sit on it sometimes.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Llama Rodeo Day

First off, Happy Father's Day to all you blog readers who are dads... we had hot but good weather here for Father's Day celebrations.  My own dear Pa has been gone since 1969, how I wish he could have seen our little place here, our animals and our gardens.  He would have liked them a lot, and would have liked to have a good jaw with Keith on the porch in the evening.
Today friend Joani and her nephew Ethan came to help us shear the llamas.  Let's face it... THEY sheared.  Keith had built a catch, and this first use showed us how we need to modify it for next year.

Here is Tony in the catch:

That's Keith, Ethan and grandson Chris calming him. Notice there is a cinch over his neck to keep him from jumping. 
This was his third time being sheared, and he actually walked in calmly, but did not like being haltered so much.

If llamas could talk....
Here, Joani and Ethan have begun the shearing.
One of the modifications we are making is to lower the top bar, and remove the removable bottom bars totally.  We think that will work better.  That's padding on them so no one would be hurt. Tony actually stood very well... except for when he kushed and we had to get him up so his belly could be finished.

Here he is, belly and haunches shorn very, very well for the first time!  Last year he had just a barrel cut.
Then it was Aztec's turn.
It was Aztec's first time being haltered, and first time being shorn.
The catch really helped, because we could put a sling underneath to keep Aztec upright.
Once the catch was made, and Aztec haltered, Joani walked around to take a look before starting to shear. She came back around laughing... and told us that AZTEC IS A GIRL!!!!
Azzie did very well for her first time.
Yes, she jumped around a little, and came up out of the catch at one point, but Chris and I were able to lift her back in.  Her wool is very, very light and fine.  Under the brown overcoat, she was gray.
Joani trimmed her toes, even though they were not too overgrown.

You can see her grey coat, and the wool on the ground. By this time, all the humans had llama wool everywhere on them.  It was a HOT day, too. She absolutely HATED getting her wormer.  They also got tetanus and CDT inoculations. 

Then it was time for this one.
Last year was Inca's first shearing.  It did not go well, she bucked and kicked so much in the borrowed apparatus that we used that she hurt the man shearing.   We were only able to get a strip around her belly cut, so her wool was very matted.  She does lay in the swimming pool regularly, though, because she's one smart mama.
She hummed to Aztec while she was in the catch, but really stood remarkably calmly. 

Keith held her on the back of the neck firmly, and she did not struggle... much.  The shears kept getting very hot, and very full of wool, so we had to stop while Ethan took the blades off and brushed the wool out, and oiled them.  It makes the whole process take MUCH longer than it would if we did not have to stop.  Joani did much of Inca's left side with the hand shears.

While all this was going on, Tony kept wandering in, smelling the shearing kit, looking at the spare baby halter on the fence post, and checking Keith and Joani out very nonchalantly.
This was the last step, the wormer.  Inca didn't appreciate it much, I'm afraid.

It occurs to me now that I did not take a picture of the three shorn babies after we finished... we were all so tired and hot and covered with wool.... but I will get one tomorrow and post it tomorrow night.  Inca is also gray under her outer coat of brown. 
We are also down six roosters... Joani took two back to a friend in northwest Missouri.... and lo and behold, I ran an ad at the feed store, and father and two little boys came tonight, took four roosters and two hens home to their farm.  I asked.... they said they were for pets.... I went on that trust because I just had to downsize some roosters.  Two of the Battling Brahma Brothers are gone, thanks heavens, and two hens that will be good for the little boys, if they are indeed raising chickens for fun. 
Keith has been asleep for an hour, and I am going to tell the grands to hit the hay, and hit it myself.  It's been a long Sunday since church early this morning!

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Tornado Watch

We're under a tornado watch tonight, and believe me, we take them seriously.  Our satellite service is malfunctioning... we have Dish Network, but tonight can't get any of the local stations except in HD, which we don't pay for.  Dish just informed me the equipment was malfunctioning, they thought, and they were glad to set up a service call.... for $95.00!!!  I asked them why I should pay to have their equipment fixed (we are renting the DVR) and got no satisfactory answer.  As someone who worked for a cable company for 23 years.... and we NEVER charged a tech fee.... it is mystifying.  I left them with the words that I would call tomorrow and make a decision, and the tech hung up abruptly without a fare-thee-well.  Humphhh!

I miss my cable tv... in fact, I miss my FREE cable tv!!!

Here are scenes from the garden tonight:
The darkening skies.  I did chores this morning during a lightening storm... fun!

Yarrow and Monarda blooming (bee balm)
White lilies

Double yellow hollyhocks with daylilies in front of them

I think this is geum "Mrs. Bradshaw" about to bloom.
... and the phlomis is just now blooming tiny yellow flowers.  I think it is grown more for it's foliage than the flowers, since it's a pleasing bronze amongst the green.  The flowers are very small, and yellow.